State and Local

Denver EPA Hearing Fuels Climate Change Debate

July 30, 2014

EparalleyDENVER—Anthony Delgado had a message Tuesday for Environmental Protection Agency officials as they consider enacting tough new emissions standards on coal-fired power plants: Don’t do it.

“They’re going to regulate us to the point where they’re going to close up the coal mines,” said Delgado, a coal miner from Craig. “In our community, that would close up the town.”

Delgado was one of dozens of miners and family members who rode in from northwest Colorado on five buses to take part in an Americans for Prosperity rally near the state capital to protest the proposed rules.

A few blocks away at the EPA building in LoDo, national environmental groups drummed up support for the power-plant regulations, insisting they are needed to combat climate change. The proposed rules would require a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030. Read more »

Local EPA Hearings Draw Protests, Enviro Supporters

July 29, 2014

Coloradans are expected to turn out in droves this week to let top Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials know their views on a controversial climate change rule that would drastically cut back on coal to create electricity.

Numerous environmental groups and some consumer and business associations will be allowed to participate in the formal hearings held from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday at the EPA’s regional headquarters in Denver.

Meanwhile, some environmental groups will stage outside protests in favor of the rule to limit carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants by replacing coal-fired electrical plants with nuclear energy, natural gas, and some forms of renewable energy.

Pro-coal supporters are also planning a rally beginning at noon Tuesday to protest what they describe as an EPA power grab that will kill jobs, especially in Colorado where more than 60 percent of energy is generated by coal-fired plants. Read more »

Ethics Panel Says Gessler Can’t Spend Public Funds on RNLA, But Deputy Can

July 29, 2014

Scott Gessler

Scott Gessler

DENVER—It’s apparently okay for public officials to use state funds to attend the Republican National Lawyers Association meeting, as long as they’re not Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

That’s how Gessler is interpreting the Independent Ethics Commission’s decision last week to allow Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert to attend the RNLA conference in August on the state’s dime—a year after he was rebuked for doing the same thing.

The commission ruled last year that Gessler had “breached the public trust for private gain” after he spent $1,400 from his office discretionary fund to attend the 2012 RNLA meeting in Tampa. Gessler has appealed the ruling, but the damage to his political career has been done.

Gessler lost his bid for the Republican nomination for governor in June, and while he says the hit to his reputation resulting from the IEC ruling wasn’t the only reason, it certainly didn’t help.
Read more »

Beauprez, Coffman Stand with Israel at Rally While Democrats Stay Away in Droves

July 28, 2014

Rep. Mike Coffman

Rep. Mike Coffman

DENVER—Jews have long been a dependable Democratic voting bloc, but Colorado Democrats weren’t exactly tripping over each other to speak at Sunday’s Rally for Israel.

A dozen speakers–including elected officials, Jewish and Christian religious leaders, and local radio personalities—fired up a crowd of more than 1,500 at the state capital in a show of support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Among the speakers were a slew of top Republicans: gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, Rep. Mike Coffman, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, state Rep. Frank McNulty, and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler. Rep. Doug Lamborn wasn’t able to attend, but sent an email of support.

On the Democratic side, there was one speaker: state Rep. Rhonda Fields.
Read more »

Polis Won’t Budge as Great Colorado Fracking Battle Looms

July 25, 2014

Rep Jared Polis

Rep Jared Pollis

DENVER — Figures released Thursday show that all four fracking-related ballot measures are poised to qualify for the November ballot, which means one thing for Colorado voters: Prepare for the deluge.

The industry is prepared to spend $50 million to defend itself against anti-fracking initiatives backed by Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, who’s showing no signs of backing despite the entreaties of the state’s business community.

The multimillionaire Polis has demonstrated repeatedly that he’s prepared to spend whatever it takes to win elections, although matching that $50 million would put a significant dent in his estimated $68 million fortune. Read more »

Fontneau Steps Down as CEO of Colorado’s Health Exchange

July 24, 2014

Patty-Fontneau-300x245The leader of Colorado’s contentious health exchange, Patty Fontneau, announced Thursday she was resigning her post to take a job in the private sector.

A statement issued by Connect for Health Colorado said the board of directors planned to name an interim director by next week and plan on hiring a professional firm to search for a new chief executive.

Fontneau has been named president of private exchange business for Cigna, a global health service company.

A spokesman for Cigna said Fontneau would help the company participate in other private exchanges across the country.

Connect for Health Colorado touted Fontneau’s accomplishments as CEO, including the enrollment of 140,000 consumers in private insurance and helping 100,000 people to access tax credits, “all while keeping fees among the lowest in the country.” Read more »

Liberals Hype Personhood Measure for Political Gain

July 23, 2014

Protestors against “Personhood.”

Protestors against “Personhood.”

DENVER — Coloradans have shown they’re about as likely to pass a personhood amendment as they are to root for the Oakland Raiders, but you’d never know that from Tuesday’s rally.

Dozens of protesters waved “No 67” signs as impassioned speakers from Planned Parenthood Votes and NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado denounced Amendment 67, this year’s personhood measure, as a threat to “a woman’s ability to make her own reproductive health care decisions.”

“Amendment 67 truly is an attack on family planning, an attack on a woman’s access to health care, an attack on the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship, and an attack on basic rights of women in Colorado,” said Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Read more »

Democrat Candidates Rolling in Dough but GOP Gets More Bang for Buck

July 23, 2014

DENVER — Colorado Democrats routinely outraise and outspend their Republican foes, but a poll released Tuesday shows that this year’s statewide GOP candidates are doing more with less.

A Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday found that Republican Bob Beauprez is locked in a statistical tie with Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, despite the governor’s greater than 3 to 1 fundraising advantage.

Hickenlooper held the 44 to 43 percent edge over Beauprez in the PPP survey, which is known for its leftward tilt.

The poll also showed that Republicans are leading Democrats in every other statewide race, even though the Democrats have stockpiled more cash in two of the three contests.

In the race for Attorney General, Republican Cynthia Coffman held a 38 to 29 percent lead over Democrat Don Quick. Coffman has raised $252,820, significantly less than the $340,769 collected by Quick, according to the July 1 campaign-finance reports. Read more »

Polis asked to Pull Anti-Fracking Initiatives

July 23, 2014

DENVER — Colorado’s business community is making one last push to convince Democratic Rep. Jared Polis to drop his anti-fracking ballot campaign.

A coalition of pro-business organizations led by Vital for Colorado sent a letter Tuesday to Polis asking him to “stand down” and withdraw his ballot measures, Initiatives 88 and 89, aimed at cracking down on the oil and gas industry.

“We are writing to respectfully ask that you withdraw your support for all proposed ballot initiatives that would add language to our state constitution which will overly restrict the practice of hydraulic fracturing, limit energy development in Colorado and, as a result, create devastating consequences for our state,” says the letter.

The coalition includes about 25 pro-business groups as well as individuals such as Kelly Brough, president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Tamra Ward, president of Colorado Concern, and Glendale Mayor Michael Dunafon. Read more »

Carson Wins Presidential Straw Poll at Western Conservative Summit

July 21, 2014

Dr. Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson

DENVER – Popular conservative columnist and author Dr. Ben Carson won the presidential straw poll at the 2014 Western Conservative Summit, defeating a cast of A-list Republicans.

Carson received 22 percent of the vote, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, last year’s straw poll winner, who took 13 percent of the vote.

Carson headlined the opening night of the weekend conference along with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Utah Sen. Mike Lee. Carson was greeted with signs and chants of “Run Ben, Run” from a crowd of roughly 3,000.

Although questions of his presidential ambitions were left unanswered, Carson did offer Republicans some advice to heed in future elections.

“Some people are not going to like what I’m about to say, but, after the primaries are over, if your candidate didn’t win, don’t take your marbles and go home — we still need you to vote,” Carson said. Read more »

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